Trinity College Library has lent some of the rotating lecterns and readers’ stools designed by Sir Christopher Wren as part of the furnishing of the Wren Library to a pop-up exhibition at Downing College. Over the last two years Cambridge-based photographer Sara Rawlinson has taken pictures of almost all of the College libraries in Cambridge.
‘Illuminating Cambridge Libraries’ is an exhibition which celebrates the dissemination and preservation of knowledge by highlighting the aesthetic environment in which books and documents are housed and displayed. The Heong Gallery at Downing provides an ideal space for displaying the photographs, but inevitably lacks any of the standard furniture of a library.
The tables and stools designed for each bay of the Wren Library were one of the many innovations which Wren brought to the construction of the building. For the temporary display in the Heong Gallery local furniture maker Peter Harrison has constructed new pedestals to hold the rotating lecterns on a more modern design of table.
Sara Rawlinson’s photos emphasise some of the more unusual details of the Wren Library, focusing on worn and damaged corners rather than the grandeur and magnificence of the building. Aspects of the architecture appear in a different light when viewed from unexpected angles. Three of her Cambridge photos were recently shortlisted for Historic Photographer of the Year 2018.
Illuminating Cambridge Libraries is on exhibition at the Heong Gallery, Downing College, Regent St, Cambridge CB2 1DQ, from 11 to 17 February 2019, 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, admission free.